Follow me on Twitter!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Team Series Thoughts and Site Updates

The first edition of the CrossFit Games Team Series has come and gone, with Team Reebok East pulling off a somewhat surprising win.  One of the big questions coming into the Team Series was what the programming would look like, considering HQ had never put together anything like this before.  With scaled divisions being offered for the first time, how tough would the Rx division be?  Would things look like the Open, Regionals, Games or something entirely different?  With all 12 events in the books, let's take a look at how things shook out.


As far as the weights used, the Team Series fell somewhere between the Open and the Regional level.  For men, the load-based emphasis on lifting (LBEL) came out to 0.56 for men and 0.39 for women.  The heaviest Open to date was 2011, which came in at 0.51/0.35 (men/women), but typically it has been somewhere around 0.45/0.30.  The 2014 Regionals were in the same ballpark as the Team Series, at 0.58/0.36, but the Regionals have averaged 0.69/0.44 since 2011.  This year's Regionals were particularly low because lifting made up such a small portion (37%).

Weighted movements made up 51% of the Team Series, which is just about the average across all HQ competitions since 2011.  When weights were used in metcons, the average load was 0.87/0.59, which equates to about a 115/80-lb. clean-and-jerk, a 210/140-lb. deadliest and a 90/60-lb. snatch.  These are by no means hefty weights, and in fact, they are quite close to the historical averages for the Open and well below the averages for the Regionals.  But what differentiated the Team Series was the addition of two max-strength events, something we've yet to see in the Open.  These are a big reason that the Team Series seemed to have a bit more emphasis on strength than the Open.

Types of Movements

With 12 events, we did see a pretty good variety of different movements tested, much more so than a typical Open.  In all, 17 movements were tested, including at least one movement from each of the seven subcategories I typically use ("Uncommon CrossFit Movements" were not used, which makes sense due to logistics).  The largest focus, not surprisingly, was on Olympic-Style Barbell Lifts, which comprised 44% of the points, including 14% on snatch and 12% on front squat.  The 44% actually ties for the most emphasis on any one of these subcategories in any HQ competition, tying the 2011 Open, when Oly lifts also made up that same portion.

Aside from the Olympic lifts, we did see that Basic Gymnastics (24%) were not used as much as in the Open (36% average), but more than Regionals (18%).  We also saw Powerlifting-Style Barbell Lifts make up 13%, which is higher than the historical average for the Open (6%), Regionals (10%) and the Games (3% since 2011).  That was due in large part to a 2-rep max bench press, which is actually the first time bench press has ever been used in an HQ competition.  No wonder Camille said the last time she maxed on bench press was "in a dream."

Time Domains

This one is hard to assess because the team setting often makes it difficult to compare the length of an event in this competition to, say, an event from the Open.  There is often plenty of built-in rest throughout some of these team chippers that a 20-minute team workout with four athletes working together might not feel any more grueling than an 8-10 minute Open workout.  All-in-all, the focus in the Team Series seemed to be more on power output over short time frames and being able recover quickly, rather than the ability to grind out long workouts and keep a steady pace.


The team series, to me, seemed like a nice blend of the inclusiveness of the Open with the heavier, more challenging movements of the Regionals.  Athletes who had the ability to go heavy or excel at some more challenging gymnastic movements were able to do so, but anyone who is capable of finishing all the Open events would be able to complete the Team Series workouts (provided they had capable teammates).  Although some of the events were a little bland (still can't believe they opened with that dull 14.1/11.1 remake), there were some pleasant surprises that kept things interesting (such as the burpee-box jump/squat clean ascending ladder).

Are there kinks to be worked out?  Certainly.  I also don't think the Team Series will ever be quite as popular as the Open.  I think the feel of the Team Series is necessarily going to be more low-key than the Open due to its position on the calendar.  But that doesn't mean there isn't a place for something like this.  Hopefully HQ will continue to refine what they have and make this an annual event worth looking forward to for the masses.

Site Updates

The Team Series was the first open HQ competition since 2009 that I haven't been a part of (I even competed back in the "Sectionals" back in 2010).  The Open will almost certainly be the second competition I sit out.  The day after last season's Open, I injured my back deadlifting, my second back injury in 6 months.  I have taken things very slow coming back from this one, and opted to skip the Team Series despite feeling 75-80% healthy.  However, in my recovery from the back injury, I looked into some lingering hip pain and found that I had a pretty significant hip impingement and labral tear (the impingement is genetic and was bound to flare up at some point). I will be having surgery to repair the tear and clean up the impingement soon, but that means a recovery time of 4-6 months.

I've also been studying for my latest (and hopefully last) actuarial exam, which I just took last week (results still pending).  All this combined with dealing with a one-year-old baby have made it challenging to make time for the web site.

I say this not because I plan to retire this site or give up on CrossFit.  Rather, I hope that you can continue to bear with me over the next few months if updates are not quite so frequent (though I don't plan to go dormant).  My hope is that in time, I can be back to CrossFitting and blogging on a much more consistent basis.

In the meantime, get your SWAG's ready - the Open is only 3 months away!


  1. Any chance you have the time to comment or present some numbers on how the new 'Regional/Super Regional' setup might play out? Seems like it will affect many Regional hopefuls and even Teams - their approach, training, and expectations. I'd love to read your initial take on how the possible scenarios might change the upcoming season.

    1. As a matter of fact, I was going to post something quick about this tonight. Stay tuned.